Sunday, December 19, 2010

Football Sunday

Usually, whenever a writer poses a question as a headline, it's something you either can't answer or otherwise don't want to answer. Then there are articles like this:

Well, I know why I hate them. Perhaps it's the Saints fan in me, but I like my winners to be approachable and inspiring. I like a team with fans that, even after a bitter loss, will welcome visiting fans to the French Quarter afterward. I like a coach who can be funny even when he's being cranky. "I want a piece of Juicy Fruit!" I like a perpetual underdog, even in victory. I like a fan base that's used to losing for so long that, when they win, they see it as a fun ride and stay classy in victory.

The Saints are Rocky. The Patriots are Ivan Drago.

Yes, I'm aware of the irony in metaphorically comparing the American football Patriots to the ultimate symbol of ruthless Soviet domination. Hear me out. Or, rather, hear Dave Dameshek out (who, incidentally, isn't a Pats fan):

"In a lot of ways, the Patriots are a natural fit as America's team. After all, they wear red, white and blue and are named after the men who gave this country our liberty."

It's kind of stupid for any NFL team to be "America's Team." Every team in the league is in America, at least for now. If you wouldn't chant "U-S-A! U-S-A!" at an NFL game, you shouldn't feel the need to equate one team with the whole country.

The Saints helping New Orleans cope with overwhelming tragedy would be as close to an exception as you can get, but even then, it seems a bit haughty and presumptuous. As for the Dallas Cowboys calling themselves that? Ick.

Still, both teams deserve the moniker more than the Patriots. The Patriots represent America only in the way that flag-waving right-wingers do: with all the right colors and self-professed superiority, while Big Daddy Boss prowls humorlessly with cameras on you at all times.

"In their first Super Bowl appearance, they eschewed the tradition of being introduced individually in favor of selflessly hitting the field as one unit."

Yeah, back in their first Brady-era Super Bowl, when the Rams were the Greatest Show on Turf and Tom Brady, in my Patriot fan friend's words, "will never measure up to Drew Bledsoe. Tom Brady. Pffft." I actively cheered for those Patriots. That was before they became the Rams, and them multiplied it times 1,000.

"Tom Brady is exceptionally likable, save the occasional 'up yours' spikes in the end zone near completion of another blowout." 

That's like saying someone is a great husband, except when they punch their wives in the face.

Tom Brady reminds me of every high school or college athlete/performer I ever knew who was more robot than human being. Yeah, he was good, but he'd also never hesitate to shove you out of the way if you got too close to him on the street. Meanwhile, he got all the girls and all the success without actually seeming to enjoy any of it. And for that, you hated him. You didn't hate him because he was successful; you hated that success was wasted on such a karmic black hole. And it's not that you wish any ill will toward him, but he even has good days when he gets T-boned in his car.

Also, he's not a classy competitor. He's on top of the world when he wins, but this is what he looks like when he loses:

I must break you.
After the Saints shellacked the Patriots 38-17 last year, Brady kept referring to the Saints as "that team." Stay classy!

And yes, I'm the same way. But I'm not a pro who's had training on handling these situations.

I'm hardly the biggest Ravens fan, especially today, but I'd rather see them (or anyone else in the AFC) in the Super Bowl instead of the Patriots.

I don't want to have to pull for the Falcons. Come on, Saints! And AFC!


venessalewis said...

Oh OH Ian. I am gonna have to bust you up in so many ways on this one buddy. But first, I have to go take a nap. (Not because the blog was boring, but because Layden is finally asleep and I was up till 3 wrapping gifts.) YOu just wait until I get my second win though. You done fired me up 'boy!

venessalewis said...

wind*, not win....

venessalewis said...

Uh, nevermind....I can see you aren't in the mood tonight for my jive talking, no matter how good natured. ;)

Ian McGibboney said...

V, this isn't really a slam at the Cowboys. I mean, yeah, everything I write is on some level, but I did say the Boys were more deserving of the "America's Team" title than the Patriots. But team loyalty aside, you have to admit that a team giving itself that moniker is really, shall we say, confident. The Atlanta Braves used to call themselves "America's Team" as well. That was a Ted Turner thing.

And yeah, I didn't like the Saints losing, the Falcons winning and so on.

venessalewis said...

HA! Actually I wasn't so miffed at the slight agains the 'Boys as the ass tearing against sweet ole Tom Brady (chuckle) and the Patriots (my 2ND favorite team)...ya know, Kevin Faulk...? I don't get all the Tom Brady hate either....I mean ok, you laid our your case. Brent hates him as well. Ladies love him though....which is why I suspect guys hate him.

LOL at the Ivan Drago reference. There again....I kinda thought Drago was a hottie. Blame it on the wiring in my brain.

Yes, the moniker is dumb and unnecessary....but frankly I don't think the Saints deserve it either. Here are a few reasons why (and I am sure you totally disagree, but, alas): first, Louisiana is so UNLIKE the rest of America, that America will NEVER embrace a Louisiana team. The way Saints fans celebrate, the second lines, the music, etc....all a very forein concept to the rest of the nation. Quite honestly Ian, like with so many other things, we are looked upon as second class...cute, but pitiable, a fluke. Which is why the Saints STILL don't get cred on rankings, ESPN etc. Both the Cowboys and the Patriots are a more "American' team simply in looks and pure Amercian blandness (I hate to say it) and so they have broader appeal. Also...2 words: BLACK, GOLD. Ugh, worse colors ever. Seriously, as a designer, I can't get behind a team with such hideous colors man.

Ian McGibboney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ian McGibboney said...

I think the different-ness of New Orleans is what makes it special. If the lame, bland masses that make up most of the rest of the country (and believe me, I know) can't deal with it, it's their loss. Still, I recall a ton of goodwill from all over last season. I had a lot of friends here who were pulling for the Saints after their teams were out of the running, because they liked the story and thought the team was exciting to watch.

As for the teams' respective legacies, I do think if the Saints ever won five Super Bowls, their staying power would be less than that of the Cowboys. I don't know why. Nostalgia, I guess? I mean, that's what all past wins are when it comes down to it. It does get old to be told my team (which I've watched through thick and thin) is less worthy than another's, especially when their title's still fresh.

As for the uniforms, well, I disagree. I think they look great, and don't clash. But OK. I'm apparently wrong about everything today, if you ask some of my friends. In any case, the uniforms have personality. Anyway, nothing in New Orleans is supposed to match.

As for Brady, I laid out my case. Unenhanced by my libido. As far as you know.

Ian McGibboney said...

Oh, and I was just reminded of another reason Brady pisses me off: the league rewrites defensive rules because of him, viz, the tuck rule. And he frequently complains to refs whether or not there's a legit infraction, and he usually gets his way, because the NFL wants its hottest properties happy.